Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Using table options to enhance clarity, part of Excel 2013: Working with Charts and Graphs.
- While we've taken some time to look at the manual controls, let's go back and talk a little bit about styles. Remember, styles are simply pre-sets, design templates that you can use. This is useful if you're working in a group, and you want to make sure that everybody follows the same rules. Or, if you're just in a hurry, and you want to find something that quickly works, you could turn to these templates to jump-start your design. Once you've got it basically right, you can go back and use the fine-tuning controls we just explored to really enhance the overall look until it's a perfect match.
With the table selected, there are some extra choices here, under the "DESIGN" tab. For example, I will often turn on the "First Column" option, which will apply things and really call out the first column of information. Additionally, you might decide to change the alignment for things. This can be found under the "HOME" tab, and let's center that text. Perhaps you want to change the formatting for these dollar amounts. Well, just go over here where it says "General," and you could choose "Currency," and you see it re-flows.
Let's do the same thing over here. There's a shortcut right there by just clicking the "$" sign, and you see it does an accounting-style format, where it's moved everything over, and put the dollar sign pinned left, so it's up to you. But I would recommend you make those two match. Down here for the total, we're seeing the numeric pound sign because it's cut off. So, you might need to adjust the width of that so everything fits.
You'll notice right now, that total line is creating a sum, which is great. That's gonna allow you to apply it, but you could, if doing other types of operations, change how it was calculating. For a simple budget, "Sum" is the best idea. All right, everything's looking pretty good there. We've gotten things aligned, but, there's a couple more options that are worth exploring. If you're not happy with the font, click in the table and press "ctrl+a" to select it. And now, from the "HOME" tab, take advantage of any fonts on your system.
As you roll over, you'll see things update. I recommend choosing a font that's extremely readable. For most spreadsheets, this is gonna be a sans serif font. Now, I'm a big fan, we'll just go up to the top here, of Arial, but depending upon your system, and which fonts you have loaded, you might want to switch that around a bit. Additionally, you can highlight those items, and take advantage of options like bold, or italics, and that will reformat what's being displayed.
That looks good. Let's make that number stand out just a little bit more. We'll switch from Arial to Arial Black, and increase the font size just slightly. That way, it makes it easier to spot that summary information. Now, there's a couple more things we could do here. If we highlight everything, control+a, you'll note that you can re-size things with the height. So, by dragging down, you see the new height, and when you release, everything updates.
Now, one of the challenges is that they're not changing uniformly. You could also right-click on these, and choose "Row Height." This will make it a little bit easier to assign a universal value. So, let's go with 24, and click "OK," and you see that it made that one change. If I select all of the rows, and right-click and choose "Row Height," and enter the value, they all update, so that can make it a bit more readable.
Remember, consider your use of alignment to improve readability, and always look for consistency. You'll note right now that these are bottom-aligned within their fields, but if you wanted to center the data so they didn't sit on the bottom, but use the top-to-bottom information a bit wiser, just select all of that information, and you could adjust the vertical alignment. In this case, I chose middle to center the information within. This has made this much more readable, but if you want to go from here, there are additional styles and pre-sets that can be applied to quickly change the look of the table.
- Creating a chart
- Picking a chart type
- Displaying data with tables
- Editing data in a chart
- Adding SmartArt graphics